Manchester City v Leicester: Entertainment expected in Etihad encounter
With Liverpool out of action this weekend, both these teams will be desperate to reduce the league leader's advantage. Mark O'Haire is expecting goals here...
Manchester City v Leicester Saturday December 21, 17:30 Sky Sports
Manchester City bounce back in style
Manchester City bounced back from their home derby defeat by overcoming Arsenal with embarrassing ease at Emirates Stadium last Sunday. Kevin de Bruyne produced a first-half masterclass as Pep Guardiola's side cruised into a three-goal lead by the interval with two superb strikes, either side of a perfect pass that laid on City's second for Raheem Sterling.
The Citizens quest to claim a third successive Premier League title is surely beyond them as they languish 14 points adrift of table-topping Liverpool, but this was a timely reminder of the quality they possess. An easy day at the office was exemplified by the brilliant Belgian de Bruyne, who ripped through Arsenal at will in a spellbinding opening 45 minutes.
City noticeably stepped off the gas after the interval, potentially triggering another peculiar response from Guardiola post-match with the Catalan saying, "We made an incredible result but the way we played against Manchester United was better in many, many things. I know we are judged on the result but I have a duty to judge the performance, not just the result."
Leicester require "a reset"
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said his team "need to hit the reset button" after surprisingly dropping points at home to a battling Norwich at the King Power Stadium last weekend. The Foxes, who remain second, are now 10 points adrift of table-topping Liverpool after seeing their eight-game Premier League winning stream come to a close.
City fell behind in the first-half before Jamie Vardy's bullet header levelled proceedings 12 minutes later. Both sides pressed hard for a winner in an entertaining second half, with Vardy twice going close, but neither side could find a way through with the Foxes failing to find the ruthless touch they have displayed throughout the 2019-20 campaign.
Post-match Rodgers refuted talk of a Leicester title challenge and the Foxes boss also refused to criticise his charges for their below-par effort, saying, "When you are on that winning run, you believe you are going to win every game, but of course it does not work like that. We were not 100% on it." The visitors have a full squad available for Saturday.
Citizens strong favourites despite stutters
Manchester City have won four of their last five Premier League meetings with Leicester, losing the other in December last season at the King Power. The Citizens have also registered top honours in each of their last three meetings with the Foxes at the Etihad.
Man City1.41 - normally so flawless in front of their home supporters under Pep Guardiola - have appeared faulty this term. The Blue Moon have bagged W5-D1-L2 here in the Premier League, recording only three shutouts, leaking at least twice on three occasions, with their only triumphs by two goals or more arriving against bottom-half dwellers.
Leicester's8.40 remarkable winning streak came to a close last time out, although the Foxes have earned maximum points in each of their most recent four road trips. Nevertheless, Brendan Rodgers' boys have W0-D1-L2 in trips to Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea with the visitors failing to show in the former two fixtures.
Goals may flow at the Etihad
Saturday evening's showdown pits together the Premier League's top goalscorer in Jamie Vardy, against the top-flight's most creative player in Kevin de Bruyne, and so it's difficult to see how Manchester City's match-up with Leicester will fail to entertain.
Man City recorded their first clean sheet in 11 games across all competitions at Arsenal last weekend. Pep Guardiola's outfit are hugely vulnerable in transition and on the counter-attack, as well as set-piece situations; however, the hosts still have the attacking class and firepower to cut any side on the planet to ribbons.
Leicester haven't failed to notch in league football since the opening weekend of the campaign and should relish their role as underdog here, utilising the pace of Vardy on the break. Meanwhile, the Foxes might boast the division's best defensive record but Brendan Rodgers' boys have still conceded in all four trips to the top-eight this term.
With that in mind, I'm happy to combine the short prices available on both Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score via Betfair Sportsbook's Same Game Multi market for a much more palatable play at 1.80 this weekend.